Developing Artemisia annua L. for the production of artemisinin to treat multi-drug resistant malaria

Date

2023-09-19

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DOI

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Conference

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) is the commercial source of the sesquiterpene compound artemisinin – the key ingredient for several first-line antimalarial drugs. Currently artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is recommended for the treatment of P. falciparum malaria. Fast acting artemisinin-based compounds are combined with a drug from a different class. The benefits of ACTs are their high efficacy, fast action and the reduced likelihood of resistance developing. A. annua also produces several polymethoxyflavones which are currently not in clinical use, but show some interesting pharmacological properties. The plants are grown as a medicinal crop, and the leaves are harvested for artemisinin extraction. Several attempts have been made to create varieties of A. annua that yield increased amounts of artemisinin; the efforts range from classical breeding to biotechnological approaches to use of genetic modification of crops. In a parallel development, key genes of the artemisinin biosynthetic pathways have been expressed in yeast, though full biosynthesis of the compound through yeast fermentation has not yet been achieved. At present, plant crops remain the only commercial source of artemisinin. In addition to its immediate pharmaceutical applications, over-the-counter available herbal preparations of Artemisia annua are widely promoted on-line as health supplements to fight inflammation or, even more controversially, as prophylactic against malaria for travellers to tropical countries.

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NATURAL SCIENCES

Citation

Arroo, R. (2023) Developing Artemisia annua L. for the production of artemisinin to treat multi-drug resistant malaria. In: 11th Conference Polish Society of Experimental Plant Biology - Book of Abstracts. Poznań, 19-22 September 2023. p. 39

Rights

CC0 1.0 Universal
http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)